Myrtle Beach, SC
Review by Gary
My 2022 Savannah road trip included a stadium tour of the Carolina League’s Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ most excellent ballpark, known as TicketReturn.com Field. The ballpark saw its first pitch thrown on April 12, 1999 before 5,521 fans. The Pelicans are the Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and that relationship is made very clear once you enter the stadium. Cub and Wrigley Field influences are everywhere.
Despite the Pelicans being out of town, I was given a fabulous tour of the stadium by John and Maddie from the Pelicans’ staff. They took me completely around the ballpark, including a tour of the Pelicans’ clubhouse, press box, suite level and a walk around the warning track. With their vast knowledge of the stadium, they very patiently answered my questions.
There are 4,800 fixed seats with up to 6,599 more standing room places from pole to pole and atop the left field fence. One fun fact is that the individual seats in the main bowl are from Fulton County Stadium, the former home of the Atlanta Braves, with whom the Pelicans were affiliated when the stadium opened and up until 2010.
On the concourse, a “Road to the Show” board shows every Pelicans player who has made it to the big leagues. Adorning the walls of the concourse hang posters of the Opening Day lineups for every Pelicans season since 1999. The ballpark does an exceptional job of recognizing not only the Cubs influence but also Pelican history, which can sometimes be lacking at comparable stadiums.
I liked that the facade under the press box level highlighted not only the retired numbers of notable players and managers, but the “paws” of the retired bat-retrieving dogs! Two large rooves, complete with pillars, down the 1st and 3rd base line provide shade, as well as umbrellas at the picnic areas. The Beach Party picnic area that runs down the third base line at field level places fans on actual beach sand right along the left field line.
Finally, an immense water tower stands just 50 feet from the Pelicans’ stadium and is visible from many seats in the ballpark and the adjoining two main streets that intersect at the property’s borders. It is devoid of any writing and I wondered, wouldn’t that be a great canvas for the Pelicans logo? Not that the Pelicans need any marketing help from me, but it seems like a golden opportunity to lure folks from the nearby Boardwalk attractions.
Overall, the Pelicans ballpark is a fantastic stadium. Thanks to John, Maddie and Sam, who arranged the tour, for the hospitality and taking the time to show me around.